Shakeups at Prime Prep Academy continue; exec. director suspended indefinitely

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by TERESA WOODARD

WFAA

Posted on December 19, 2013 at 12:01 AM

Updated Thursday, Dec 19 at 12:32 AM

FORT WORTH -- Prime Prep students and Prime Prep parents knew it, but the Prime Prep board didn’t.

Wednesday night was the long-scheduled holiday concert at the Fort Worth campus. At 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, the board called an emergency meeting, to be held at 5:30 p.m. in the same auditorium where the concert was to occur at 6 p.m.

While parents grew angry at the media for being on campus while a Christmas concert was underway, board members walked the halls, searching for a spot to hold a meeting.

Edna Phillips, mother of a fourth grade student at the Fort Worth campus said the disorganization didn’t surprise her.

“It’s not what we thought it was gonna be,” she said of Prime Prep Academy. “You get a lot of disrespect, there’s no order here. No type of order here. None whatsoever. I’m dissatisfied.”

She said she feels like the school values sports over academics. She complained that there is little communication from administration. And if anything is communicated, it is often last-minute.

The board meeting eventually began in a classroom, one hour late. Members convened, then left for executive session. And while they were gone, parents and staff aired complaints that were nearly identical to Phillips’ concerns.

“My son is not getting what he needs,” said one father, who didn’t want his name used.

A Prime Prep employee who also refused to be identified described a culture of bullying at both campuses. He and several others complained that Prime Prep founder Deion Sanders is still wielding influence, even though he’s been terminated.

“Teachers and administrators in Dallas are afraid to go to work every day,” said one employee. “It has to stop. I don’t care if this school closes. It has to stop."

Board members returned from executive session, voting to indefinitely suspend Executive Director Kimberly Carlisle with pay.

The agenda said she had told parents Prime Prep was discontinuing all athletics programs and even told parents they would be better served pulling their children out of the school. The agenda also said Carlisle was not complying with public information requests, which has potential criminal implications.

Board members unanimously agreed to appoint former DISD trustee Ron Price as Prime Prep’s newest interim superintendent. Price was not at the meeting.

Ron Price’s contract is not yet finalized, but his salary will likely be similar to the former superintendent, who was paid about $95,000 per year.

Edna Phillips was the only parent who was not afraid to speak, because she’s pulling her daughter out of Prime Prep this week.

“They’re not learning anything but how to be vulgar at the mouth and just irate," she said. "There’s no order here, none whatsoever."

E-mail twoodard@wfaa.com

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